Glow Academy: IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF SCARS
Each of us has our own unique skin goals, the checkpoints on our ‘ultimate glow’ mood boards that we’re working towards. With such a diverse range of what we all want from our skin, no two people’s aims are necessarily going to be the same. We know that often deciding where to work backwards from when you’ve got the end of the journey in sight can be an overwhelming prospect. To help out, we thought we’d pull together some of the goals we hear most commonly from our Tropic community and guide you through those first steps on the journey to your dazzling destination. Welcome to Glow Academy...
If you’re seeking to improve the appearance of SCARRING for a smoother skin texture, you’ve stumbled upon just the blog!
SO, WHAT EXACTLY ARE SCARS?
Scars are nothing to be ashamed of. They’re the signs of the life you’ve lived – the lasting mementos of a childhood scrape, the ever-present reminders of an important operation, or cautionary tales that make us remember to be extra vigilant when we’re stood by the chopping board prepping dinner! If anything, we should look on them as markers of our body’s incredible resilience and ability to bounce back from injuries.
Created as part of our natural healing process when skin has been cut or wounded, what we see as a scar is actually the result of the body repairing itself. It grows new fibrous tissue (most often formed from collagen) in order to seal your injury, fill in any gaps that may have been left, and protect the new skin which is being generated beneath the wound.
It’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as one kind of scar. They come in all different shapes and sizes – they may be flat, lumpy, discoloured, red – and are entirely dependent on the experience you go through which causes them. Some may fade with time, others may stick around for life as permanent parts of your skin story. They can appear anywhere on the body and sometimes will develop into keloid scars, specifically referring to incidences where scarring becomes thicker, raised and expands out beyond the original area of injury.
We should note that our advice here is entirely predicated on helping to improve the cosmetic appearance of existing scars on the body, but scarring is a medical issue. If any scars are causing concern or discomfort, please speak to a doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible.
WHAT CAUSES SCARS?
There are a plethora of causes for scarring – as many different ones as there are kinds of scars! Essentially, whenever a wound has been severe enough to impact the inner layers of your skin (the dermis), it’s going to leave a mark behind. That can mean everything from acne, burns, cuts, illnesses such as chickenpox, insect bites and surgery scars, or even voluntary processes such as piercings or tattoos.
HOW CAN I IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF SCARS?
- A massage! Yes, it might sound bizarre but gently massaging the area around a scar can sometimes be useful, as long as you make sure you’re only doing this once your wound has fully healed. Scars can sometimes develop what’s known as corded tissue underneath the skin, and a massage may help to stretch this and ease its tightness.
- Don’t count out the good, old-fashioned power of makeup! Just as scars come in all sizes, they can also be many different colours, so make sure that you’re matching your coverage to the tone of that particular area of skin to balance out your complexion. Layer up on your colour by starting out with foundation, before using concealer and setting powder.
- It’s perfectly natural for scars to itch as they form. When we’re wounded, this often damages our skin’s nerve endings, and the itchiness we experience as scars develop is actually a normal byproduct of those nerve endings healing. In order to prevent any further irritation at this sensitive time by scratching and potentially inflaming your scar, topical treatments like antihistamine creams can help to ease itching.
WHICH INGREDIENTS ARE GOOD FOR SCARS?
Look out for skincare which features..
Tamanu oil – This antibacterial, anti-inflammatory super soother should be your go-to for helping to improve the appearance of scars. It’s amazing at calming bites, stings, burns and general inflammation!
Vitamin C – Brightening and anti-inflammatory, this powerful antioxidant is incredibly effective at dealing with the hyperpigmentation which often accompanies scars, helping to fade dark spots.
Alpha-hydroxy acids – Exfoliating like no other, these break down the bonds of dead skin cells and sweep them away to reveal a smoother surface beneath. They’re super useful for easing the appearance of acne scarring.
THE SCARS FAQ
Do scars fade with time? When a scar initially forms, the blood supply to that area of skin will increase rapidly and new collagen will continue to form for a period of several months. Gradually however, the blood supply to this area will begin to fall and some of the excess collagen will break down. This causes the scarring to appear less raised and become smoother. The process of fading tends to take two years, but beyond this point it’s unlikely that a scar will continue to decrease in appearance any further naturally.Why are my old scars still itchy? In many instances of scarring (commonly found with burns), skin is left permanently tighter than it was before. This means that even when your skin is healed, it’s still stretched more tautly and is therefore far more likely to experience itchiness. This may also be the case if you experience changes in weight which cause skin to become tighter, or when your skin starts to become drier i.e. due to the weather or ageing.